Derry City's Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe favours winning matches over personal goals

JUNIOR Ogedi-Uzokwe finished top of the goalscoring charts in 2019 but the striker insists winning matches is much more important to him than personal accolades as he aims to help Derry City finish the season strongly.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 3:51 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd August 2021, 3:52 pm
Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe celebrates scoring Derry City's insurance goal against Longford Town at the weekend. Photograph by Kevin Moore.

His 14 goal tally, including a hat-trick against Finn Harps on the final day of the season, saw him win the top scorer gong in his first season in the League of Ireland.

Since his return to the Brandywell at the start of July he’s scored twice in four league matches. His latest goal in Longford was the club’s 1,000th away strike in the League of Ireland and sealed an important win for the Candy Stripes.

The former Colchester forward is developing a good understanding with his strike partner James Akintunde and the Londoners linked up superbly in the build-up to both goals against the Midlanders.

Junior reckons that understanding is only going to get better as the season progresses and he’s delighted to play his part as Derry climb up the league table.

“Personally I don’t really set any targets,” he said. “I just hope we win games. If it means I have to score goals for us to win then that will be very good but I’m just here to help the team win games.

“I’m happy to be playing football again and I’m happy to be scoring goals. Hopefully I can keep doing that and help this team win games. That’s the most important thing.

“I feel like we’re only going to get better and better with each other. There are some new players and we will get better as the season goes on and hopefully we can score a few more goals between us and help the team.”

Junior is flanked by two Longford Town defenders during Saturday's league clash at Bishopsgate. Photograph by Kevin Moore.

Derry didn’t have it all their own way in Longford but two excellent team goals proved the difference. Junior was involved in both but his clever dummy and finish for the second was particularly pleasing for the striker who says he always backs himself to score.

“The first goal, the ball came over the top and the bounce was a bit funny so I had to hold it up. I gave it to James and he found Danny (Lafferty) and it was a brilliant finish from him.

“The second was a bit the same. The three of us linked up again. Danny played it through, I dummied it to James and he put me through. Thankfully I finished it. If I get chances I back myself to score so I hope I get more of those chances and score a few more.”

The arrival of Jamie McGonigle and Bastien Hery has also injected fresh enthusiasm among the squad but Junior was quick to play down any talk of chasing a top four spot.

“Bastien is a very good player. I remember him two years ago when he was at Waterford and I always rated him. It’s nice to have players like him here, it shows you what the club is doing and how they want to play. It’s very positive.

“We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We’ll take every game as it comes and hopefully we can get the win against Drogheda next week and move on to the next one. It’s all positive.”